Just like anything we wear, drive, or eat, yoga mat preference is specific to the individual. When you begin your yoga practice, it is important for you to find the perfect “fit” for you when it comes to the mat on which you will perform your asanas.
Take into account these features when searching for your mat:
- Thickness: you will find that basic mats have a thickness of 1/8” but for those of you who like more cushioning, 1/4” yoga mats are available. The thickness of the mat can affect your practice more than you would think. If you like to feel a strong connection to the floor, then a thinner type will suit you. But, if you need more cushioning to make it easier on your body during certain asanas, then the thicker type would be for you.
- Length: the length of the mat really only affects you if you are a tall person. You don’t want to find yourself constantly half-way onto the gym floor for most of the poses. During yoga practice, you will find that you are stretching in every direction. If you are a very tall person, then you may need an extra-long yoga mat for poses such as Warrior II or Downward Dog where you may need the extra room to stretch.
- Color & Style: the color and/or pattern of the yoga mat is the fun part of selecting the mat. This is where you can express your individuality. Some people choose mats with a full array of colors with intricate patterns, while some choose muted, quiet colors. Possibly have a mat for different types of classes. For a relaxing candlelight yoga class, bring a solid, muted color, whereas for a kundalini yoga class you might want to bring a vibrant one.
- Material: you will find that the majority of mats are made of PVC, or vinyl, but other options are available. Natural rubber, jute, and cotton are other ones to consider. Some companies provide eco-friendly yoga mats if you do not want synthetic finishes applied during the manufacturing stage. If you are allergic to latex, then stay away from natural rubber.
- Stickiness: to avoid slipping and falling during difficult asanas such as triangle pose, you will want to consider the “stickiness” of the mat. Most mats that are non-slip will indicate it on their packaging.
- Texture: while shopping for your mat, make sure to notice the texture. Some of them are bumpy, some are smooth. This is a personal preference. If you are sensitive to textures, then pay attention to this aspect of the mat. You want to be comfortable while learning a new asana.
As you can see, the type of yoga mat really comes down to personal preference. Shop around at local stores or online. Prices range from mid-teens to a couple hundred dollars. If you will be attending classes a lot, then it makes sense to invest in a higher quality mat. If you are new to yoga and trying it out, then maybe purchase the lower cost mat until you know if yoga is right for you.
Monarch Wellness in Naples, Florida offers several types of yoga classes every week. Check our calendar to find the one that works for you. Call ahead or drop in! We look forward to seeing you in class! Yoga classes are offered at our central Naples location at 843 Myrtle Terrace, Naples, Florida 34103. Call us at 239-231-3208 for more information.
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